Saturday, December 31, 2005

NFL Picks Week 17

Last week's record 11-5. For the year, 159-81. This places me tied for 5th out of 9 with the NFL Experts at ESPN.

This week:
San Diego


New England



Tampa Bay




Kansas City



San Francisco




Monday, December 26, 2005

What I ACTUALLY GOT For Christmas

Everyone knows what I wanted (see here and here if you don't). Now, here's what I actually received as gifts.

1- A videotape called "Frosty's Psychotic Christmas"

In what is sure to be the last in the "Frosty" Christmas Special genre, Frosty comes to life in this animated adventure and begins to hear voices telling him to kill everyone around him. Lots of unholy carnage ensues. I may be old-fashioned, but in my opinion this is really not appropriate as a holiday special.

2- A CD entitled "Elton John's Greatest Songs That You Can Actually Understand The Words To"

Funny thing is I tried to play it but there does not appear to be any music on it. I'm not sure if I was ripped off, or if there are no songs in which the words aren't a garbled mess.

3- A book entitled "Purpose Driven Smoking- The Novice's Guide On How To Begin To Use Tobacco Products"

I've enjoyed an occasional cigar, but I never realized the flip side to all the negative spin around tobacco. I've had time to thumb through this book, but not read it in detail. From what little I have read, the anti-tobacco main stream media has been crusading against this plant's use, but as usual is not presenting the whole truth, such as all the good to be found in smoking or chewing this crop's leaves. Typical MSM stuff, you know. I'm about to read Chapter 2 on how to select a brand of cigarette to match your style.

4- Squidward and Patrick socks and underwear.

Enough said about that.

5- Chicago Bears 2006 Super Bowl Shuffle Record

"'Cause we're not here, to start no trouble, we're just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle!"
Go Bears!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Week 16 NFL Picks

I was 11-5 last week, 148-76 on the year. This would tie me for 5th out of 9 in competition with the ESPN NFL Experts.

This week:


Tampa Bay

St. Louis


New Orleans




Kansas City






New England- Monday night

Friday, December 23, 2005

I Can't Disagree With This Opinion

The Hubble Telescope has found two "new" rings and two "new" tiny moons around the planet Uranus.

Which prompted this quote today from my man Paul Harvey on his morning broadcast:

"Let's name that planet something else."

He's right, you know. Whether you use a long or short A in its pronounciation, you get something less than desirable.

How about something with Maximus in it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mossback Meadow Mittwoch

Presenting another post today inspired by the good folks at Mossback Meadow.

All hail The Cinnamon Bear!

I haven't heard this radio serial in about 10 years. And I had forgotten all about it until it crept in to a post yesterday on Mossback Meadow.

It used to play every year around these parts on a local radio station. I think it was made in the late 1930
s. The daily episodes ran every evening for about 10 or 15 minutes. It usually started the week after Thanksgiving and would run up to Christmas Eve.

As I remember, there were a couple of kids (a brother and sister) who were playing around before Christmas trying to put up their tree or something. There was a Silver Star for the tree that ends up getting stolen by someone, a quilted dragon, or some such beast. The two children set out on an adventure to find the Silver Star, aided by none other than our hero (cue the trumpets)...

...Paddy O'Cinnamon, aka THE CINNAMON BEAR!

He had a thick Irish brogue and a husky voice. Picture Winnie the Pooh crossed with the Lucky Charms Leprechaun.

I also remember there being an episode during the run that could be construed as offensive to Indians, but I may be wrong. But then again I may be right, which might explain why it's not on anymore.

And I think, after all is said and done, Santa Claus somehow gets involved in the story. But here's where the story takes a most disappointing turn, right at the end. (Spoiler alert- do not read on if you are writing all this down and planning to listen to the show).

Right at the end, we find out little Billy-Jimmy (or whatever the boy's name is) and Judy-Suzy (or whatever the girl's name is) have been dreaming. The whole serial was a sham. Talk about a disappointment. If I hadn't been 32 years old when I heard the final episode, I might have had a meltdown.

I believe The Cinnamon Bear inspired that whole Dallas thing in the 1980s, with Bobby Ewing dying one year only to come back the next season, it all being explained away as a silly dream.

Bet you didn't know that The Cinnamon Bear blazed the trail for later serials like Dallas, did you? Well, it's true. And that's what we're here for folks... to x-ray and inform.

Another Nomination

For Worst Christmas Song Ever.

Thanks to Polly for reminding us of this attempt at schmaltzy emotional manipulation this time of year. That "Christmas Shoes" song.

And notice what Christmas is all about in this song. It's right there in the lyrics. I'm so glad it tells us, because I have been confused for years that Christmas was about Christ coming in to the world to save us from our sins.

"It was almost Christmas time,
there I stood in another line
Tryin' to buy that last gift or two,
not really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me
was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing 'round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes
His clothes were worn and old,
he was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say
Chorus:Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight
He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, "Son, there's not enough here"
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me
He said Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir, what am I going to do,
Somehow I've got to buy her these Christmas shoes
So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I'll never forget the look on his face when he said
Mama's gonna look so great
Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight
Bridge:I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about
Repeat Chorus".

So now there are four nominations. Any others? Time is growing short.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Christmas List, Part Two

Dear friends,

Remember me? I'm a little short in the gift department so far this Christmas. Any and all gifts must be sent to Scottius Maximus, C/O Postmaster, Boody, IL. Time is running short...and, remember, I AM keeping score.

1. Green Ghost-

This was an awesome game from the late 1960s. We used to go downstairs into our dark basement and play this game with the lights out. The board glowed in the dark if you put it under a light for a few minutes, like those old glow in the dark watches. The board had little pits and dungeons that you could fall into. You had to reach in to the pits in the board, in the dark, and feel around to get the little green ghost guys. The spinner was this giant green ghost that you see on the box. The only down side was that the ghosts in this game (see picture of box above) looked like green little Dick Vitales.

"That's awesome, baby!"

2. The Domino's Pizza Man Cave Couch-

From Engadget.

Price tag: a mere $30,000, plus $5,000 shipping and handling.

And isn't it worth it? A person would almost never have to leave the comfort of their couch. Read:

"The unique couch's myriad features reflect the desires of pizza-loving sports fanatics, nearly 500 of whom were surveyed about what they wanted in the supreme sports sofa. They went for the classic furnishings of a "man cave," that increasingly popular phenomenon of a dwelling-like area (usually the basement) for today's modern caveman.

The Domino's Pizza Man Cave Couch has it all. It serves as a high-end entertainment and food-and-beverage center where everything is within hairy arm's reach.

The Domino's Pizza Couch features:

  • Two flat panel screen televisions
  • DVD player
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Xbox with three controllers
  • Electric Red MP3 player
  • XM Radio with one year of free service
  • NEXTEL cellular phone and a NASCAR headset
  • Two Domino's Pizza Heat Wave hot bags to keep your pizzas warm
  • Coca-Cola beverage cooler
  • Remote control caddy
  • Bottle opener

All of the couch action can be captured with an included Kodak Easy Share camera. If that's not enough, guys can kick back and enjoy the special reclining option and head rests that double as paper towel holders. To ensure couch-sitters are respectable and presentable when they leave the couch, Old Spice has provided a year's supply of men's deodorant and body spray.

The couch also features the autographs of two-time Daytona 500 winner (and Domino's Pizza Driver) Michael Waltrip and other NASCAR drivers."

Call 1-800-521-8274 to order for me. See, I've done all the work. I'm making this too easy for you all.

3. Alcohol Content Tester.

From Gizmodo.

"You sit down at the bar and order a double Scotch and soda. But the drink tastes more like water than Speyside malt. No worries, just whip out this trusty alcohol tester and catch that 250 lb. bartender red-handed. You hold up your multicolored testing device and shout: you, sir, are a cheat! What happens next is anyone's guess, but I hope you are wearing running shoes.

Of course this is also ideal for any serious bartender or drinking business. The principle is based on the different weight of alcohol and water. The position of the rings and the colors show the percentage of alcohol to water. It comes in various materials and with different numbers of rings for measuring."

My only question is: if I make Rum Ball Cookies, can it tell how much alcohol is in them?

4. Exercise Heart Rate Monitor.

Also from Gizmodo.
For only $155 you can get me something that I can put on me that will measure my heart rate as I am exercising. This little tank-top-like doo-dad seems a little short, but I can make do. WHAT?!!!

5. Super Mario Kart Arcade

From Engadget. The greatest racing game ever, Super Mario Kart, in genuine arcade splendor. I have a space in my house all picked out for this contraption. Up with Mario, down with Wario!

Not much time left. Please help out. I'm serious! Don't laugh! C'mon! Scrooges!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

NFL Week 15 Sunday Picks

Yesterday 3-0. This year 140-71. In 5th place out of 9 in the ESPN Expert Picks field.







St. Louis






Baltimore- Monday Night

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Five "Random" Facts

Okay, I'm game, I think.

I've been tagged by Katie's Beer. Where the term "tag" comes from is beyond my knowledge base, but I think it has something to do with deer hunting.

I'm supposed to give you 5 "random" facts about me. I'm not sure what constitutes "random" facts. If it means the first 5 things that pop in your head, then here they are:
- I shower every day.
- I use Old Spice deodorant.
- I love pizza.
- Even my nose hairs are turning gray.
- I tend to procrastinate, but not as bad as when I was younger.

But that's not so exciting.

So here are five not-so-random facts about me:

1- I have achieved the coveted hole-in-one in golf.
During July of 2000. And it abolutely killed my interest in golf. I had started playing again 3 years before, and although I wasn't real good, I at least didn't embarrass myself. But after the hole in one, I figured, what was the point? I'm never going to get a thrill like that again from playing. I golfed my last game in October 2001. Now I enjoy gardening.

2- I'm a huge fan of the music of Led Zeppelin.
Many people consider them just a rock 'n roll band. But that is out of ignorance. Blues, country, Celtic, rockabilly, and folk were all comfortable genres for the band. And I love the LOTR references.

3- My friends and I made a 20 minute movie after graduating high school.
Mostly out of boredom, I guess. It was called "The Lazarus Theory", and I played the lead, a spy named Wade Fogel. We just made the whole thing up. We used an ordinary home movie camera, which didn't have sound capability. So we improvised, having a narrator of the action instead. This was 1981. No one had heard of a camcorder back then. We finished shooting it, developed the film, and showed it to a small group of invitees at a store one of us worked at after hours. After that, we got a write up in the local paper.

4- I grew up in a neighborhood that has produced one college professor, two Harvard law school graduates, a physician, and an administrator of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
As in, I grew up with these people. As in, they all lived in houses within 100 yards of my house. Must have been the water. Actually, I am one of the above. Can you guess which one?

(Even though I was once a professor at the SEC's finest, the University of Kentucky (go Cats!) and also at Illinois' finest, Southern Illinois University (go Salukis!), the college professor I am speaking of above is not me. I had to get out of those places before my head exploded. It wasn't as much the liberalism inherent in academia as it was the meetings, administrators, and committees. YUCK!)

5- Even though this blog may be evidence to the contrary, I am in my "right mind."
You see, I am left-handed. A lefty. Southpaw. Whatever. I don't do everything left handed, however. I eat and use scissors with my right hand. But I write, throw, bat, play golf, and do just about everything else left handed.

I guess that's 10 facts. Forgive me.

Saturday NFL Picks

Record last week was 12-4. For the year, 137-71. In my competition with the ESPN NFL Experts, this places me in 6th out of 9 pickers.

New England



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Calling All Plant Peeps

No, not Mushroom People or Tomato People. I mean people who are plant experts, i.e., master gardener types.

How does one keep a poinsettia plant alive?

For the 20th straight year, we will try to keep this plant type alive at our house. Actually, two plants this year. I received one as a gift, and one is from our church. And I fear that without some intervention, our death streak will continue.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How To Make Egg Nog

I'm no chef, but I am a connoisseur of good Egg Nog. You either love it or hate it. I present to you therefore, two egg nog recipes, one real, and one totally made up. Which one you think is real will depend on whether you like egg nog or not.

Scottius Maximus Egg Nog Contestant #1
2 eggs, beaten well
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
2 1/3 cups milk

PREPARATION:Blend all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Scottius Maximus Egg Nog Contestant #2
2 pregnant chickens, beaten well

3 tbs anchovies
1 tbs vanilla custard
2 1/3 cups mustard
5 jiggers tequila
3 tbs tabasco
1 habanero pepper
2 pickled artichoke hearts
1 McDonald's Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bagel
4 40 mg Prilosec capsules
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

PREPARATION: Blend all ingredients together and serve chilled.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Death Of A Stadium, Part CMLVIII

In these pictures below from Wednesday night, Busch Stadium gasps its last breath.

Close up, and still closer, up.

Fireworks go off in the St. Louis sky in tribute. The new stadium, with lights aglow, is seen on the bottom right (southeast direction).

Pre-snow morning after view looking east. Looks like a bomb went off in St. Lou. Does anything look alive? Can this possibly be turned in to a place for baseball in 4 months? Put this picture in the dictionary next to the word ugly.

The view from above Friday, looking east toward the Mississipi, new stadium on the right. The old stadium has left the scene, man. But again, doesn't this look more like a 3rd world country, like Lou-bekistan, or something?

Reverse view looking west, with the new stadium to the left. No more old stadium. Just a large snowy and junky looking void on the right.

Looking northeast, the arch is just out of view at the top. This flat area will be the "ballpark village", a shopping and entertainment complex.

Lotsa work left to do, of course. But notice how far north the 3rd base/left field stadium structure has come. It's about to curve back east. Man, I can't wait for spring!

Week 14 NFL Picks

After a disastrous 10-6 week last week, I fell behind many of the ESPN Experts at 125-67 for the year. Which is why my TV career floundered. But I'm still in the ballgame, still ahead of a few, and ready to go this week.







New England





San Diego



Green Bay

Atlanta- Monday night

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Confessions Of A Heretic

Lot's of 40th anniversary fever floating around for "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Aardvark Alley had the first post I saw.

But I have a confession. As much as I love "A Charlie Brown Christmas", it's not my favorite Peanuts Christmas animation. That would belong to "It's Christmas Time Again Charlie Brown."

Made in 1992, this video is much funnier than "A Charlie Brown Christmas". When I first saw it on a rack at a local video store, I sarcastically thought to myself, "yeah, right, that looks like a REAL winner." Who could have possibly thought they could improve upon the original special? After watching it (my son received it as a gift), I changed my mind.

The first special is more of a piece of nostalgia and great music. Linus' poignant speech seals the deal. There are plenty of witty moments, but nothing laugh at loud funny.

Which is the difference between the original and the 1992 video; the latter is just a very funny piece. Mr. Schulz made his masterpiece with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and seemed to want to do something different. He accomplished that. It's just downright funny stuff.

Charlie Brown: Would you like to buy a Christmas wreath?
: It's not even Thanksgiving, yet. By the time Christmas comes, all the needles will be falling off.
Charlie Brown
: Don't hang it near the turkey.
[Leading up to the Christmas play, Sally continually practices her only line, actually, only word, in the play. She is afraid she will screw it up, so when the big night comes, what comes out of her mouth? The correct line is "Hark"]
Sally: Hockey stick!
Marcy: Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord.
Peppermint Patty
: [while Marcy is speaking] Baa! Baa! Baa! Baa!
: I am Gabriel, Mary, and I couldn't hear you because of the sheep.
Charlie Brown: Good morning, this is a Christmas Wreath.
: [snatches wreath away from Charlie Brown] Thank you, I love samples.
Peppermint Patty: [on the phone, to Marcy] Marcy, what book were we supposed to read during Thanksgiving Vacation?
Marcy: This is Christmas Vacation, Sir.
Peppermint Patty
: Christmas Vacation? How can I read something during Christmas Vacation, when I didn't read what I was supposed to read during Thanksgiving Vacation?
: Duck, Sir. Easter is coming.

I love this video. But I never see it given any love anywhere else. So here's a toast to my favorite Charlie Brown Christmas video. And to those of you who understand, it goes like this (in my most throaty Peppermint Patty voice)..."Woof, meow, moo...whatever!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Call For Nominations

This year we will continue the gloriously great "Scottius Maximus Family Christmas" tradition of picking the Worst Christmas Song Ever.

When the song is picked, feel free to print out the lyrics and join your family in the traditional Scottius Maximus custom. Gather your family around the tree in a circle and join hands, whereupon you will rapidly rotate the group counterclockwise as fast as you can around the tree while singing the selected song. It helps if you chug 3 cups of egg nog right before doing this. Whoever hurls first is declared "Grand Roi de Mauvaise Chanson" for the year. Then everyone exhanges socks.

From now until 12/18/2005 I will accept song nominations.

There are a few rules...

- The song must be ridiculous.
- The song must have reference to "Christmas" but have absolutely nothing to do with Christ or His birth.
- It must be a "real" song. That is to say, it must be published, copyrighted, or recorded. Limmericks and ribaldry are not acceptable.
- Lyrics must be provided to me so I can post them, i.e., I will not do your research.

Last year there were three nominees: "The Candy Kid", "Christmas On The Moon", and "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas". The latter was the winner last year.

I am re-nominating them this year. Here they are, in all their lyrical splendor.

1) "Candy Kid" by Tony Romeo:
"Feelin' so depressed I wasn't up to getting dressed
it was a Saturday night so I decided against a party.
There was Christmas in the air and you could feel it ev'rywhere,
and it kinda brought me down cuz I felt I just wasn't ready.
I headed on down to the center of town
Where folks were shopping around
and all the colored lights were pretty.
And suddenly I could hear so loud and so clear
such beautiful music and the rhythm was happy.

It was the Candy Kid from the mission Bow'ry.
A hobo Santa working for the Salvation Army.
Come drop a nickel in the kettle.
The Candy Kid will dance your troubles away.

Watchin' him move, people couldn't help but groove
And they were clappin' their hands and singin', "Come on Candy."
While we were caught in this glow it may have started to snow,
I don't know, I don't know, my happy soul was diggin' Candy. (Chorus)"

2) "Christmas on the Moon." Words and music by Jerry Silverman:
"Christmas on the moon, let's spend Christmas on the moon,
Far above the earth and its cares, we'll catch Santa unawares.
We'll float beneath the starry skies, and we'll watch the old earth rise,
On an old time Christmas like we uster, rendezvousing with our booster.
For the boy and girl with ev'rything, how about a little lunar fling?
In a capsule that's just built for two, let's rocket to the moon, I mean, sock it to the moon.
And we'll spend Christmas on the moon, let's spend Christmas on the moon,
'Round and 'round the moon we will go, in our guided mistletoe.
Away out there in outer space, we'll meet Santa face to face,
All the Christmas lights will shine so brightly, as we touchdown satellitely.
Just my little honey babe and me, we'll defy the law of gravity.
There is one thing to be thankful for, although we may be weightless, we surely won't be dateless.
For our Christmas on the moon, let's spend Christmas on the moon,
All our blessings we'll be countin' when the earth comes over the mountain,
Let's spend Christmas on the, Christmas on the moon."

3) "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas). By Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert :
"Please Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cry
Ple-ease Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cry.
Just last year when I was only seven
Now I'm almost eight, as you can see
You came home a quarter past eleven
And fell down underneath our Christmas tree.
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cryyy-yyy-yy
Ple-ease Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cry.
Mama smiled and looked outside the window
She told me "Son, you'd better go upstairs."
Then you laughed and hollered "Merry Christmas!"
I turned around and saw my mama's tears
Please Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cry
Ple-ease Daddy, don't get drunk this Christmas
I don't want to see my mama cry.
No, I don't want to see my mama cryyyyyy."

Okay. Let's have 'em folks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Busch, We Hardly Knew Ye

SOB! The tears are flowing.

The end is here folks. Tonight.

A stadium knows not it's time.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

The Busch is dead. Long live the Busch.

Insert your own cliche here.

After 40 seasons, Busch II is no more.

But they saved Stan. Where he is going I do not know. But they got him out of there on 11/30/05. Here are some pictures. I thought they broke his legs at first (3rd picture down), but I guess not.

No Big Secret To Me

World Mag Blogs, including the ferocious Lutheran Bunnie, are posting about churches cancelling their Sunday worship December 25th because of Christmas. Some seem puzzled by this.

But it's all elementary, Watson ol' chap.

It's perfectly understandable why a non-Lutheran would want it this way.

A non-Lutheran is much more likely to view worship as something the worshipper does for God. In this scenario, church is work to the worshipper. Therefore, a day off this Christmas is something welcome. Our great God is blessing them with a day off. They're tired of this worship thing.

But if you view worship as what it really is, The Divine Service, then it is all about what God does for the worshipper in his Word and Sacrament. Worship is something God does for us, not the other way around. Therefore, we really can't get enough of it. There's no way I'd miss going to church for anything (unless I'm very sick). I NEED IT.

I can't imagine not going to church on Sunday. In fact, at the church I attend, we also have Wednesday night services. So now I can't imagine not going to church on Wednesday night for worship.

And if we had a worship service every day, I'd be there. Sometimes I wish we did. But this would put an enormous burden on everyone on the church staff.

So, let those who need a break have it. I'm sure they need time off from those things they do. But let me humbly go to worship on Sunday, December 25th, and receive what I get the other 51 Sundays of the year- God's gifts in the Divine Service.